Let’s face it, Anime isn’t for everyone. It has a very specific stigma attached and is often generalized as these long never-ending soap operas. There are, however, some shorter and more approachable Anime choices. Ones that carry the story and weight of some truly interesting stuff that is definitely worth the time. Here is a list of a few Anime shows that are short and sweet for your casual viewing pleasure.
Spike Spiegel is a bounty hunter in space. He leads his misfit crew of characters including the powerful Jet Black, the radical Edward and the lovely reluctant Faye Valentine. The show is essentially a Japanese Firefly. It has a wonderful noir feel complete with some great blues and old jazz to set the scene. It is truly great and rich with character development. The show is currently streaming on Hulu in both English and Japanese. I strongly recommend the English Dub, however. It stars voice-over icon Steve Blum as the sharp dressed bandit in the driver’s seat.
One of the more popular Anime shows around is Death Note. The show centers around a young boy named Light who comes across a mysterious note book. Attached to the soul of a demon, the notebook is a tool for killing. The person whose name is written in the book will die when and how the writer specifies. The series spawned a lackluster, live action film produced by Netflix. Side-stepping that, the original show is on Netflix as well. It is a dark and gritty take on vigilante justice and what it can do to a pure soul over time.
91 Days follows bootleggers in the prohibition era pedalling a game-changing moonshine called Lawless Heaven. The show is essentially a gangster drama about the shady underbelly of Illinois during the roaring 20’s. The show takes us into the business of the Vanetti Family through the journey of Angelo Lagusa. Lagusa infiltrates the family as a ploy to get revenge. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. The show is available to stream on Crunchyroll.
A while back, Samuel L. Jackson starred as the lead and supporting characters to the award-winning Anime series Afro Samurai. The story is about a samurai, with an afro, that is in search of the man who murdered his father over a powerful relic. The Number One Headband. Whoever wears it bears the power of a God. The only way to challenge the wearer is to acquire the Number Two Headband in battle with whatever warrior holds it at the moment. The show mixes urban style with feudal settings, all backed by a soundtrack fully produced by Wu-Tang Clan’s the RZA. The show is available, alongside the sequel move Afro Samurai: Resurrection, on Hulu.
Another show that fuses hip hop and swordplay is Samurai Champloo. What happens when two passing ronin end up accompanying a young woman on her quest to find the Samurai who smells of Sunflowers? Nujabes and Fat Jon produced the soundtrack for the project that was created by Shinichiro Watanabe, creator of other great Anime shows like Space Dandy and the aforementioned Cowboy Bebop. Steve Blum even returns as one of the two centric samurai. The show is also available on Hulu for streaming.
Some other honorable mentions are the zany and absurd Space Dandy and the spaghetti western Trigun. Both of which are available to watch with subtitles on Hulu.
What is your favorite Anime? Is it approachable enough for a first-timer?